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How I became a Networking Enthusiast

February 18, 2014 - 4 Comments

I’ve always been curious about networks. I remember opening up an old Linksys Router and discovering the physical circuit, the processor and integrated memory.

But my official networking life didn’t start until my coworker taught me the basics of routing. The first thing I learned was how to log in and enter commands within the command line. The second was CRC errors. These small lessons peaked my interest and by the following week I was digging in and researching how the devices worked. The first Cisco device I had the pleasure to meet was a Catalyst 6500.Cisco Catalyst 6500

I had no idea what I was doing, but I was eager to learn. Software verses firmware, “.bin”’ extensions, encapsulation, connections from LAN to WAN, wiring. The more I researched, the more I liked it and realized this was what I really wanted to do.

The Journey Continues

My networking life continued in Network Support. I remember open tickets, contact carriers that I had never heard of asking me to provide the exact time of the bounce, grabbing logs, demarcation, follow-up, monitoring for 48 hours straight. I felt like a father watching over his son, feeding him and making sure he was safe and secure.

Top 2 Networking Emergency Moments:

  1. A carrier went down during business hours, due to an OC-48 card crashing in London. Half of our clients were affected
  2. An undersea fiber broke, affecting Asia, the Middle East and Europe (Sea-ME-WE 4). I still remember its name

Network Engineer

What I Learned

Through the years I’ve learned how to design, implement, monitor and troubleshoot network related issues, but I’m still learning and discovering every day. For instance, I’ve  learned how to study in English. I enjoy the learning process, but early on it was all in Spanish. The transition to English was kind of scary.

I’ve also discovered pleasant surprises about Cisco. Sandra Lerner, one of the Cisco creators back in 1984, lives in Northern Virginia not far from when I used to live. And one of the DUAL Algorithm creators is a Mexican teacher, named J.J Garcia-Luna-Aceves. DUAL is the Algorithm used by Cisco in the EIGRP routing protocol.

The Future

Now that I’m in the networking world, I see my future clearly. I’m still deciding about my area of focus – Security, Routing and Switching Wi-Fi, etc., but I keep learning and adsorbing. At some point, I would like to teach about networking.

What have you learned on your networking journey? What’s your top networking emergency moment?

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  1. Hi Marcy,

    First of all, thanks for reading.

    My advice is, try to setup a home lab. Nothing compared to it. I was lucky, the company that I started to work for, hired me as a 3rd shift support. At some points was good to me, and I explain it to you..

    During 3rd I was working by myself or one of my coworkers,my bosses were sleeping and while I was working and I took advance of it. – Why? because since I was my own boss, when a circuit went down or any issue came in, I brought my own ideas and procedures how to approach the problem.

    I mean, we had procedures, thing that you always have to follow and respect, but no all the networks issues were solvable with established procedures. Those steps helped me to become a better network support.

    Mary, try at least to work with Cisco devices daily, invest in yourself reading and researching. Go out of your range, don’t limit yourself. It helps on your resume at some point.

    Focus on what’s next for you. Either CCNP or other CCNA Security or Voice.

    Wish you the best,

  2. Hi Oscar ! super interesting article, my networking passion kinda started like yours, with the exception of a practical approach to devices. I achieved my CCNA recently but unfortunately for me the course I attended was more theory focused, so I didn’t had the chance to practice on real devices so far, only packet tracer 🙁 I’m now looking for a job in the networking area, do you have any suggestions for someone like me with a fresh certificate and looking for his first job experience ?


  3. I want to know setup at wifi nework at home….

    • Hi Kamrul,

      Would be my pleasure to help you. I can give you some logistics in regard your home network.

      I would recommend the N900 Linksys EA4500, which comes with Cisco Connect Cloud firmware. Personally, it’s one of the best in the market. I have installed this Router to in my friend’s house and it works great.

      Quick review of the features:

      Speed is up to 450 mbps, Gigabit ports, good performance, wide wifi range, stability, QoS. You can manage home networks via mobile applications.

      Thanks for reading,